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The Leader’s Guide to Creating a Daily Maintenance Battle Rhythm


By MG Jeffery Broadwater, COL Patrick Disney, and MAJ Allen Trujillo

Have you ever walked into a situation in which you had no clue what was going on? Have you ever been in charge of a process  that used a language to communicate that you did not understand? For some leaders, walking into a motor pool for the first time can feel this way. During recent Sustainment Terrain Walks, 1st Cavalry Division’s leadership was afforded the opportunity to analyze some of the questions leaders at the battalion level often ask in pursuit of enhanced readiness. Through that process, division sustainers developed a daily battle rhythm to make Maintenance less daunting and streamline the process for leaders.  

Maintenance is the foundation for success in a maneuver formation. This fact is especially true in an Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). If your equipment is non-mission capable (NMC), you will have little to no chance of success in Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO). In order to build a strong maintenance program across a BCT, leaders must make a deliberate effort to set conditions at the BN level. The following article outlines a series of recommended daily checks at the BN level for BN Commanders, BN Executive Officers, BN Maintenance Officers (BMO), and BN Maintenance Technicians. Additionally, this article outlines a strategy to complete scheduled services on time.

GCSS-A: Global Combat Support System-Army

GCSS-A is the Army’s integrated system associated with supply, maintenance, property, and unit-level finance. At the BN level, the entire maintenance and supply enterprise must have reliable access to GCSS-A. This access includes but is not limited to: BN Maintenance Technicians, Automated Logistical Specialists (92A), Unit Supply Specialists (92Y), Maintenance Team Chiefs (91A, 91B, 91M, etc.), specialty Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), BN Executive Officers, BN Supply Officers (S4), BMOs, Company Commanders, and Company Executive Officers. In order to get GCSS-A access, potential users must complete training in the GCSS-Army Training and Certification system (GTRAC). Your BDE Maintenance Technician (MATO), BDE Property Book Officer (PBO), or BN level GCSS-A access administrators can assist with granting access.

ME5A: Unfunded Purchase Requisitions (PR) 

Once all members of the BN maintenance and supply enterprise have reliable access to GCSS-A, BN Executive Officers, BN Maintenance Technicians, and BMOs must develop a daily battle rhythm that continually monitors the BNs Maintenance System. The first daily check should be the ME5A. The ME5A is a GCSS-A maintenance transaction code that shows all of the unit’s unfunded PRs. The ME5A is validated at least once a day by the BDE S8/DIV G8. It is important that BN leaders verify the PRs to ensure they are valid and properly labeled in the system.Unfunded PRs that sit on the ME5A negatively impact the BDE Supply Support Activity’s (SSA) customer wait time. 

DA Form 5988-E and Equipment Status Report (ESR)

After the ME5A is validated, the BN Maintenance System must track 5988-E flow from operator Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS) to mechanic fault verification, work order creation, and PR. “Maintenance Monday” is commonly used to conduct operator PMCS and fault verification. Once operators are complete with their portion of the 5988-E, a mechanic must verify all faults, to include fixing any previously identified deficiencies. Once the operators and mechanics complete this part of the process, 92As must input all of the relevant data into GCSS-A and create any required work orders.

Note: BN leaders must ensure operators are capturing the correct current mileage of the equipment on the 5988-E. 1CD’s terrain walks revealed that operators commonly annotate incorrect data from the vehicle/generator (kilometers versus miles).

 After the 92As upload 5988-E datainto GCSS-A, BN leaders can verify all of the actions done by the mechanics on the Equipment Status Report (ESR). The ESR is the GCSS-Army Z_EQUST report. The ESR replaced the 026 report from SAMS-E and shows the maintenance status of all equipment in GCSS-A. In common language, the “ESR” often refers to the Z_EQUST report for deadlined (“X” checked) equipment. Z_EQUST has the capability to display the technical status of all equipment in the unit. In common language, the ESR is the equivalent of the maintenance common operating picture, providing shared understanding of equipment across all echelons in the Army. Data input must be accurate and reflect current equipment status as senior leaders use the ESR to make decisions, allocate resources, and develop priorities. 

Note: BN Executive Officers, BN Maintenance Technicians, and BMOs should actively track all backordered parts for pacing equipment. The recommended systems to track parts in order are: Web Visual Logistics Information Processing System (WEBVLIPS), Army Enterprise Portal (AESIP) Parts Tracker in LIW, Integrated Development Environment/Global Transportation Network Convergence (IGC), FEDMALL, and RFID Tracker. Questions leaders at the BN level should ask are: Is lateral support available?, Is a vendor option available?, Has a Support Assistance Request (SAR) form been submitted? Has the Supply and Transactions Assistance Team (STAT) team been contacted? Has the Program Manger been contacted?  

MATSIT and Parts Received Not Installed (PRNI)

Before the BN can confidently place PRs against identified work orders, it is imperative for the BN Executive Officer and BN Maintenance Technician to clear/validate the BNs MATSIT in GCSS-A and ensure all PRNI have been issued to open work orders. The MATSIT is a GCSS-A maintenance transaction code (/n/ISDFPS/DISP_MAT_SIT) that shows all bench stock, shop stock, and PRNI within the BN. If there are parts not assigned to bench stock, shop stock, and PRNI, BN leaders must clear, delete, inventory, or assign these items to work orders in GCSS-A. Next, BN leaders research the IWBK/ZISSUE maintenance transaction code to view PRNI. IWBK/ZISSUE is the replacement terminology for the SAMS-E PRNI; once the BN leaders access the IWBK/ZISSUE maintenance transaction code, they must ensure all parts are assigned to open work orders. 

Create Work Orders for new Purchase Requisitions           

When the BN has successfully cleared/validated their MATSIT and issued all their PRNI to work orders, they can confidently create new work orders and PRs for the faults identified in their weekly operator PMCS and 5988-E validation. The life of a work order and purchase requisition adheres to the following process:

1)    New fault identified and work order created with PR.

2)    PR can be viewed on the ME5A

3)    When a PR is on the ME5A, it is simultaneously in ZPARK. ZPARK is the means within GCSS-A by which commanders verify that funds are available to cover the cost of materials: stock transport order (STO), PRs, or purchase orders (PO).

4)    BDE S8, DIV G8, and Corps G8 validate and allocate funds to PRs.

5)    Funded PRs can be seen at the unit level using the maintenance transaction code ZPROSTAT. ZPROSTAT is the order status report. It replaced the Document Control Register (DCR) from SAMS-E and shows all funded PRs as well as the unit level purchase number.

6)    Funded PRs can also be seen using the maintenance transaction code ZRRR. Unlike ZPROSTAT, ZRRR is an order status report that shows: PR, work order, unit level purchase number, national level purchase number, and SSA document number. ZRRR also shows the unit all parts issued, received and inbound to the BDE SSA.

7)    Inbound deliveries awaiting pick-up at the SSA can be accessed using the maintenance transaction code VL06i. The VL06i provides a “pick list” for units to print out and review prior to going to the SSA. VL06i allows units to allocate resources for the SSA pick-up as well as understand exactly what they should be picking up. Additionally, units must use their hand-held tablets to Post Good Receipt (PGR) their items prior to leaving the SSA. The SSA should have a policy in place that does not allow units to leave the facility without PGRing their equipment.

GCSS-A Dashboard for Manpower Utilization, Dispatch Reports (BI-BEX) and AOAP (IW28)

As soon as BN leaders verify the PRs have been funded in ZRRR, they can turn their attention to Manpower Utilization, Dispatch Reports, and Army Oil Analysis Program (AOAP). BI-BEX is a GCSS-A dashboard that displays various maintenance and supply metrics. These metrics allow BN leaders to check certain subcomponents within the BN Maintenance System. Manpower utilization provides commanders a snapshot ofthe workload of the mechanics in their formations. Manpower utilization also allows the larger Sustainment Enterprise to see if the force structure is adequate to meet the demands of the units Modification Table of Organization and Equipment (MTOE). 

Dispatch reports allow Commanders to see if their Soldiers are following the proper guidelines and policies to drive and operate equipment. Additionally, dispatch reports track the mileage of all vehicles in the BN. Accurate mileage in GCSS-A is important because mileage is an input variable to the Army’s Training Resource Model (TRM). The TRM is used to determine a unit’s yearly operational budget. Consequently, accurate dispatch reports and mileage directly impact the training dollars available to a unit. 

Lastly, the maintenance transaction code IW28 displays the AOAP status in the BN. AOAP is a mechanism that improves the operational readiness of Army equipment, enhances safety, detects impending component failures, and conserves petroleum resources [1]. AOAP also saves time and money. A good AOAP program prevents Soldiers and leaders from committing unnecessary resources.

Note: The current system of record for AOAP is AESIP. AESIP is managed by the US Army’s Logistics Data Analysis Center (LDAC). AESIP is also the system of record for all Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) and Modification Management Information System (MMIS). TMDE tracks the calibration status of specialty equipment while MMIS provides Army wide updates for Safety of Use Messages and Modification Work Orders (MWOs). BN leaders should also check their TMDE and MMIS status on a daily basis.

Standard Pricing, Scheduled Services, and ME5A

The final daily checks for BN leaders are Standard Pricing (ZOAREP), Scheduled Services (ZMPRPT), and ME5A. Leaders can access standard pricing (SP) with the ZOAREP maintenance transaction code. SP refers to reparable items in an existing or planned national maintenance program. Per AR 750-1, if a repairable item with SP is ordered and installed, a unit has 72-hours to return the item for monetary credit. SP is important to the BN Maintenance System because any item returned generates credits directly back to the unit’s operational budget. SP generates fiscal readiness and fiscal readiness generates operational readiness. BN Executive Officers should strive to turn in all SP items in less than 10 days.

 Scheduled services refer to all upcoming services in the BN. In an ABCT, there are three main categories of scheduled services: 1) Pacing items (M1, M2, M109, etc.); 2) Light tracks and wheels; and 3) ancillary equipment (weapons, night vision devices, chemical masks, etc.). Pacing items should be planned at least one year in advance and placed on the long-range training calendar. Light tracks and wheels must be scheduled weekly and placed by admin number on a training calendar. Based on the number of mechanics in a Forward Support Company (FSC), light track and wheel scheduled services can only be completed if there is a scheduled service occurring every workday of the year. Ancillary services should be scheduled for entire companies at a time in 1-2 week increments. This process allows the BN to mass the resources of an entire company at once.

 The final daily check for BN leaders is the ME5A. The ME5A shows any purchase requisition that generated during the day. BN leaders must check the ME5A before they go home for the day as they may identify invalid PRs and/or confirm priority PRs. BN leaders should check the ME5A at least twice a day. More checks will only help the requisition process.  

Way Ahead

Maintenance in the Army is a continuous process. A coherent daily battle rhythm at the BN level creates an environment for sustained readiness. BN leaders must clearly articulate and demonstrate acceptable maintenance standards. Once the standard is understood, it is essential for leaders to verify compliance and provide assistance wherever necessary. Details matter. Be deliberate, be precise, and ensure you are meeting the Army standard. Discipline and demonstrated understanding of the system will allow us to sustain combat power to operate at the distance and tempo required to win in LSCO. 

Major General Jeffery Broadwater is the Commanding General, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Colonel Patrick Disney is the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade Commander, Fort Hood, Texas.

Major Allen M. Trujillo is the Executive Officer to the Commanding General, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

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